I know dehydrating your own fruits and vegetables sound like fun without even mentioning the fact that you and your family will have delicious nutritious snacks to enjoy in. Since buying one can be expensive and building one is not rocket science, all you have to do is figure out the best way to remove moisture from your favorite food. Sounds easy enough, right?
In this article we will teach you how to build your own dehydrator from scratch using only household items. All you need is a little bit of ambition, few easy to find materials and basic skills.
First of all and most important, your dehydrator needs some “love” in a form of heat, so heat lamps, electrical heat coils or an even old crock pot base will do the job just fine. In fact you can use anything that can put off heat in a longer period of time.
Next, you`ll need some sort of container, something to foster that love in a form of a box, old cooler, old fridge or a simple wooden box will do just fine. If you can`t find anything appropriate, then I suggest building your own wooden container.
And finally you need some sort of gadget that can measure the heat inside
Now, place your heat source at the bottom (with vent near the top) so the heat can circle from the bottom and out the top.
Note: Do not use any kind of insulation that can trap moisture and has the potential to grow mold inside. Furthermore you can install a fan inside (one from your old computer will do just fine) so you can increase the rate of the dehydrating process. Also, note that the ventilation will affect the amount of moisture inside which will reflect on the efficiency of the dehydrator. In essence more moisture = longer to dry.
Once your dehydrator is build you`ll need to put some racks in it. Make sure they are removable (for cleaning) and far apart so the air can pass through them freely. A wooden frame with some wire mash makes a great rack.
Now your dehydrator is ready and all it needs is some apples, bananas, apricots or anything else you want to see in your food storage.
One last thing, the right temperature is very important and every food needs it own optimal and different dehydration temperature.
- Fruit and Vegetables 130 ° – 140° F
- Herbs 95° – 110° F
Items you`ll need
- Large (closable) box
- One safe heat source (heat lamp. light socket, lamp assembly… )
- One tape of aluminum foil
- Wodden slats or dowels
To sum it all up everything is explained in 6 easy steps:
Find a large box and use aluminum foil tape to line the inside.
Insert and mount your heat source through a cut-out hole in the bottom. Keep the hole as insulated and small as possible.
Note: Make sure there are no exposed wires inside or in contact with the foil.
In order to slide in your wooden slats or dowels (so you can place your racks) cut some holes in the side.
The moisture needs to escape from somewhere so make some vent holes on the tops. Small holes tend to work better so you`ll need to make more of them.
Prepare your favorite fruit and place them on the racks.
Close the box and let it do its magic.
Note: Never leave your dehydrator unattended (especially the first time until you make sure it works as it should). Also place it in a place away from other objects or something that is easy flammable just in case.
In the comment section below let us know how your dehydrator turned out!